Panther junior successful in finals

By Jackson Russell

TWO Wallan Panthers’ junior representatives sides’ Victorian Junior Basketball League premierships created a weekend of ‘firsts’ for the club.

The Panthers’ under 14 girls’ was the first female championship for the club, and it was also the first time that the club had two premierships in a single season.

Wallan Panthers under 14 girls after their win. ​


President Gary O’Brien said he was proud of the club’s success in 2019.

“To have 14 teams and 11 of those make finals, six to make it to the last week, three teams make grand finals and two champions, it’s just fantastic. We’re so rapt,” he said.

Wallan’s under 14 girls won a 26-25 nail biter over Sunbury on Saturday.

“To have 14 teams and 11 of those make finals, six to make it to the last week, three teams make grand finals and two champions, it’s just fantastic. We’re so rapt,” he said.

Wallan’s under 14 girls won a 26-25 nail biter over Sunbury on Saturday.

Wallan Panthers under 16 boys after their win. ​

The Panthers scored with 1.7 seconds left to seal the win as Hailey Baird top scored with six points and Jade McLay was named Most Valuable Player.

“It’s our first female championship which shows the progress we’re making with the girls program,” O’Brien said.

The Panthers’ under 16 boys also left it to the final moments to win their flag in the VJL Five with a 46-45 win over Diamond Valley, after scoring on a free throw with four seconds left.

Ryan Philippe was named MVP after scoring 25 points in the win.

It came down to the second last possession for the Panthers.

Scores were tied with 30 seconds left, the Panthers ran the clock down to eight, gave the ball to Philippe who got himself to the free throw line with four seconds left.

Ryan Philippe and Jade McLay were named MVPs in their grand final wins. ​


He missed the first but hit the second to give the Panthers a one-point lead. Diamond Valley went down the other end and missed their game-winner on the final possession.

“The boys finished on top of the ladder which was a huge effort. Ryan played the finals series injured, which is incredible and showed such courage,” O’Brien said.

Wallan’s under 18 boys weren’t as successful, going down 33-29 to top-ranked Kilsyth on Friday night.

Jayden O’Brien tried his best to keep the Panthers in it, scoring 15 points in the loss.

“They played the top team so it was going to always be battle but they’ve had a great year,” O’Brien said.

“They’re such a great bunch of guys and play for each other, it’s been a real joy to watch. They probably deserved it but championships are hard to win.”

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